Though an e2 visa is not a green card, it is an investor’s visa you can use to seek entry to the United States to manage your own business and build wealth in the most prosperous economy in the world. These visas for investors are also great options for some entrepreneurial professionals with some investment capital. You may have considered an eb-5 visa (green card) and do not have the minimum investment of $1000000 (or $500000 in a high unemployment area), but you are willing to make a smaller investment such as $200,000 in your business idea. The question then arises as to the source of investment funds for your business.
The regulations in 22 CFR 41.51(b)(7) require e-2 investors to have sole possession and control of the funds. An e2 investor may be a person, or it may be a foreign company with e2 treaty nationality.
First, you can use personal funds from savings, inheritance, gift or secured loan. If you use credit, you must use your personal assets not the business assets to secure that loan. So if you own a villa in France, and you take out a loan secured on the villa, then these funds can be used to invest in a Treaty enterprise in the US.
Pooling funds with other e2 visa treaty nationals
Sometimes you may have a great business concept but do not have sufficient funds on your own. If you do not have sufficient funds for the type of business contemplated you may pool funds with others. If you have other potential “investors” in this enterprise, they can gift or loan you their funds and seek status as an e2 employees provided they are of the same nationality. They may work in an executive or supervisory capacity or as employees with special knowledge. While not eligible for e2 status a Lawful Permanent Resident, may gift you the funds or loan you the funds secured on your personal assets (not the business assets).
Holding company as treaty investor
A third approach is to pool investment capital by using a holding company with treaty nationality with the investors seeking non-immigrant status as employees of the e2 visa business in the United States. Provided the foreign holding company can show that it can direct and develop the treaty business this should work.
The regulations require you to irrevocably commit the funds to the treaty enterprise. Uncommitted funds in a bank account will not suffice. To obtain some personal liability protection while irrevocably committing the resources to the business you may place some invested funds with an escrow company pending visa issuance.
Seek legal counsel from an e2 visa lawyer
Treaty investor visas for business may be a good option for entrepreneurs wanting to come to United States to direct and develop businesses. For some it may be a fitting alternative to the backlogged E-b3 immigrant visa or the H-1b non-immigrant visa categories. However before making an investment towards obtaining an e2 visa, it is advisable to first consult an e-2 visa lawyer. If you want e2 visa help including an application for a first time visa or help with e2 visa renewal, give us a call to schedule a consultation. We also offer services for L1 visas and other visas for investors.